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polar vortex.jpgEveryone likes to be prepared for what is to come. Some of us may enjoy a surprise or two, but typically, we humans like to plan and be ready. This winter has done nothing if not taught us how sometimes even the best preparations are not quite enough.

Last week, many parts of the U.S. experienced a deep freeze of historic proportion. Residents of cities like Chicago and Minneapolis are quite accustomed to cold temperatures and snowfall during the winter. What they have not seen is the subzero temperatures that gripped that part of the country – temperatures that made it hard to carry out even the most mundane task such as starting your car or going to work and school. Meteorologists predicted this weather, but it exceeded expectations and was not part of anyone’s plans. Everyone had to adapt and adjust to new circumstances.

Life often hands us situations that require us to adapt and change. In some instances, nothing prepares us for the change ahead. In others, we have a few warning signals and can begin to think about what it means to change. One of the goals of school is to prepare students for the next steps in their school and work life. Educators pride themselves in helping students be ready for any situation that might arise. Is that reasonable? Or, instead, is it more beneficial to prepare students for the uncertainty that is sure to greet them, if not next week, then next month or next year, or years down the road?

Schools are preparing students for an uncertain future. We know what we know today, and we know the rate of change is faster than humans have ever experienced in history. We can embrace the change, adapt our mindset to one of seeking knowledge, understanding and learning rather than staying the course that was implemented when educating our citizens began. We continually face new and interesting challenges that require more from us. Are we ready? More importantly, are our children ready? They are our future.